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Yeah… what she said!

Mini chocolate cake and ice cream @ CarinosA few weeks back, Ben Grey got me thinking more about getting my thoughts down in writing when he asked “What’s the Goal?”  Essentially, he framed what tends to be a debate (in the edtech circles I run in) between “dedicating specific time in our school day to teach students finite skills of operating computing technology” and  more of an integrated or embedded model.  I’ve had this conversation with many people from several different perspectives, but have never explored writing as a way to “gel” my thoughts.

Since then, I’ve been formulating my perfect response.  I’m not a big “either / or” guy on this particular topic… in fact, at the risk of forever labeling myself as a “fence-rider,” I’ll say, here for the world to see, that (much like when it comes to the great ice cream vs. cake debate) I lean toward “both /and.”  I firmly believe that technology is not a curriculum… it is a tool.  As such, teaching it in isolation, separate from the context of everything else we expect kids to know and be able to do, makes little sense.  But, as Jeff Utecht writes, “at some point it’s about the technology.”  While he’s talking specifically a/b teachers learning about digital tools and computer technology, I think the idea of including both the “Ying & Yang” of “how” and “why” is important.  For classroom teachers, this can be daunting… after all, given the existing schedule, classroom, curriculum structures and constraints, who has time to stop what they’re doing to teach those discrete, purely technical skills that absolutely warrant their own direct instruction?

Just as I’m gearing up to sit down for some focused writing time, I read Kim Cofino’s post declaring “We are all Technology Teachers” and, while I know there are still more questions than answers surrounding this topic, I just wanted to say “yeah… what she said.”

That said, I’m wondering how other classrooms, schools, & districts are reacting to this kind of conversation and what action is taking place as a result?

[Thanks, Wyscan, for the image from Flickr]

Posted in What I think.

2 Responses

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  1. Chris says

    6 months ago I would have argued for full integration, but the nature of my position this year has shown me very clearly that it has to be BOTH.

  2. Dale Holt says

    As an instructional coach “for” technology I find that it often derails the learning concept conversation if the “T” word is mentioned. I try to balance that by viewing the ways that tech opens my way into normally closed classrooms. Learning for me is often viewed thru a writing lens because of my English background, therefore context and understanding of audience are huge. With such a huge disparity between the technophiles and technophobes out there it is hard not to sit on the middle of the fence for want to view both of the green grassy fields. I said to a teacher this week “We don’t teach the pencil, we teach handwriting as a means of communication.” Not sure if that clarified or confused it for me but I still believe that tech and education still have that emergent feel to them, but perhaps so did peanut butter and chocolate in the beginning.

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